Thursday October 22nd, 2015

The 8th mass media

Before reading any further, I want you to take a moment to think of the last advertisement you saw today. Seriously, take a moment and think back...

Got it? Okay, good. Where did you find it? Was that ad in a magazine? Maybe you heard it on the radio? Or was it along the sidebar of a story you were reading online? If you answered yes to any of these, you were exposed to a form of mass media. Thanks to mass media, large-scale companies have everyday access to us through use of one of the seven established technologies: print, recordings, cinema, radio, television, internet and mobile. Soon though, you’ll start to see the push of the 8th mass media – augmented reality (AR).

Augmented reality is a view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input – such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data – to modify the surrounding real world with user interactive and digital technology. Need a visual? Check out the clip below:

Video credit: Magic Leap

That’s a digital elephant in real time interacting with someone’s hands. How is this possible? That’s a good question.

Augmented reality is generally approached in one of two ways: marker-based and/or location-based applications.

  1. Marker-based AR works by having software recognize a particular pattern when a camera points at it. When the software sees the marker, the effect unfolds on the surface it’s printed on.
  2. Location-based AR uses the ability of a particular device to record its position and offer data that is relevant to that location.

Sounds all very futuristic, right? Well, the technology is already being used today.

AR experiences are available now:

Augmented reality is already all around you. Companies like Google, HP, Ikea and Microsoft are providing us interactive experiences. Through their work in AR we can create personalized moments that help us to better communicate in other languages, set up new products for use, see what new furniture will look like in our homes and discover fantastic worlds never before seen in our own.

We’re not only using AR for selling products, but for educating the next generation of professionals. Microsoft has been using their HoloLens to maximize learning potential for medical students and revolutionize the way we understand the human body.

And this is just the start of what is being done with AR today.

2016 will bring a change in the way you see our world:

In the coming year, we’re going to be seeing some major product releases for augmented reality and a technology that’s extremely close in nature and cross-influencing AR, virtual reality (VR). Virtual reality shares a great many similarities with augmented reality with the exception that VR is completely housed in the digital world, while AR is quite literally an augmentation to our real-world.

In 2016 alone, we’ll be seeing numerous new devices hitting the market:

With the mixture of these devices working together, you could create in a virtual world that could then be brought into ours using AR devices. This technology is quickly expanding and available to everyone today for development. It’s an insanely exciting time!

For more information regarding augmented reality or your thoughts regarding this post, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. 

Augmented Reality Resources:

J.D. Cutter,

Senior Front-End Web Developer

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